I loved ILTACON. Not only did the quirky theme and costumes at the opening reception make me feel right at home, but I also gained much insight into the modern legal technology space, all in a three-day crash course. I witnessed ILTA’s focus on innovative education at its many excellent sessions. For example, Jeffrey Roach’s “Breaking the Mold Of: ‘But We’ve Always Done It This Way’” altered traditional session structure itself, to have the audience experience first-hand the legal world’s discomfort with the unfamiliar. My favorite session, “The Rise of the Machine,” provided a fascinating look into modern law automation, and featured ROSS CEO Andrew Arruda’s pithy yet compelling advice: “Self-disrupt or self-destruct.” With its many thought leaders and vendors, ILTACON presented legal technology in its condensed form: what it is, whom it concerns, and where it is headed.
The most interesting answers to that last question came from people I met at the conference (and at the concurrent IgniteLaw Las Vegas). I had the coveted opportunity to interview thought leaders from a diverse array of backgrounds about their predictions for legal technology in 2016. Here is what they think will happen in the legal technology space:
“What I’m certain of is that we’ll see a continued rise in the adoption of ordinary, mainstream business analytics in law. We’ll see more and more companies rise to serve the demand for business analytics; we have very big clients making demands for information that requires business analytics. I think one of the key trends we’ll see in the near term is more use of that, growth of staff to do that, and the adoption of more technologies.” – John Alber, ILTA
“I think that when it comes to legal tech, lawyers are really going to start to realize the value of delivering efficiency, and reducing redundancies in practices. Whether it’s cloud or server-based, they will start to embrace the efficiencies. It will make them more competitive in the marketplace, because they can do things more efficiently and focus on practicing.” – Niki Black, MyCase
“The traditional model is going to require a skill change to support the new stuff. The applications change. You don’t necessarily have to install things; now you just go to the cloud, so you need new skills for that.” – Tim Egan, Goulston & Storrs
“It’s going to continue to be a good year for BigLaw…. I think we’re going to continue to see declining hiring in young lawyers and administrative support staff. [Large law firms are] either outsourcing, or doing without a lot of those services, which I think is a bad thing. I think that law firms need more collaboration and more cross-disciplinary work. (And what do you think can be done to fix it?) Law firms need to think about the way they deliver legal services as a legal services delivery system, as opposed to a billable hour.” – Dan Lear, Avvo
“I would say that legal technology is becoming much more mainstream. I think you’re going to see more and more law firms collaborating with legal tech vendors, and I expect that there will be at least one or two splashy legal tech IPOs. If not by 2016, certainly by 2017.” – Milan Markovic, Texas A&M School of Law
“My prediction is a continuing focus on [artificial intelligence], but no one actually using it.” – James Peters, LegalZoom
Do you think that AI will continue to go unused, that cloud will go mainstream, and that analytics are the next big trend? I would love to hear more predictions!